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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
In this exercise, we're going to go ahead and play back our action and make sure it works. We're going to start off by playing the action inside the very image in which we recorded the action in the first place. Now, that may seem like just a waste of time, because after all, if we were able to record the action inside of this image, then surely it's going to play back just fine. Well, in our case, this is a pretty straightforward action. There's not that many steps. But as your actions grow more and more complicated, and you have more and more steps going on, there is more and more room to make mistakes.
The easiest way to troubleshoot those mistakes is to work inside the exact same image, so that you can see how the mistakes unfold. At any rate, I have opened that same image, Pont Saint-Benezet.psd, but I have already applied all of these modifications to that image. So in addition to seeing here inside of the Convert to CMYK action, I'm seeing the Flatten Image operation, I'm seeing Image Size, and I'm seeing Convert to Profile current document. If I go over to the History panel, I see those exact same steps: Flatten Image, Image Size, and Convert to Profile.
Now, here they're not recorded as operations; They're just recorded as layers of pixels. However, the deed is already done. So we need to get the image back to its original state before the action was applied. You can do that by either backing your way up here inside the History panel. So, for example, I would just go ahead and click on Revert, since that was the operation I applied before creating the action, or you could go up to the File menu, and you could choose the Revert command, or press F12, of course. Now, in my case I don't have to, because I already went back to Revert here inside the History panel.
All right, now let's go over to the Actions panel. Notice I've restored all my layers, such as they are, here inside the Layers panel. I'm also working inside of an RGB image, as opposed to CMYK. If I go to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command, then I can see that the Resolution is 300 pixels per inch, and the Width of the image is not quite 8 inches wide. It's just shy of that. So apparently I have backed my original Image Size settings as well. All right, so cancel out. Now let's go ahead and play back that action. You do so by clicking on the action itself, that is Convert to CMYK.
Make sure it's active. Then drop down to the bottom of the Actions panel and click on the triangular Play button. Notice how fast that played. It just whipped through those steps. I can confirm that all the steps worked, because nothing went wrong. I don't see any alert messages. Nothing bad appears to have happened to my image. If I go over to the History panel, I can see there are my steps: Flatten Image, Image Size, and Convert to Profile. Sure enough, the image is flat. I can see that here inside the Layers panel. If I go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command, then I can see that the width is now 8 inches, and the Resolution value has been automatically changed to 295 pixels per inch.
Then finally, I can see, in the Title tab, that I'm working in the CMYK mode. So everything has been done just fine. The next step is to try out this action inside of a different image that has some sort of differences going on. So I'm going to switch over to Avignon street.jpg. It has the exact same resolution, by the way. It's still 300 pixels per inch. It's an RGB image. However, it's already flat. So the flatness is done, of course, by virtue of the fact that it's a JPEG image. Well, switch over to Actions. Let's just see what happens if I go ahead and play an action.
There is no flattening to be done, because if I go over here to the Layer menu, I can see that Flatten Image command is dimmed. So how in the world does Photoshop respond? All right, well, we can only see by doing. So I'll click on that action. I'll click on the triangular Play button in order to play it back. No problems whatsoever. So basically what happens, when you're playing back actions, unless they're new alert messages that didn't pop up before, alert messages, by default, are quelled, so you don't end up seeing them during playback. You can force them to appear, but again, by default, they're hidden.
Then any commands that aren't relevant just get skipped. So we can see, we've got a flat image. Great. It was already flat. Fine. If I go up to the Image menu and choose the Image Size command, then the Width of the Image is 8 inches, the Resolution is 295, cancel out of there. Then finally, we're working in the CMYK mode, so all seems to be well. There is one issue, however, and that is that I really ought to be sharpening the image. After you get done converting an image to RGB to CMYK, there is some softening involved in that process.
We have to sharpen the image a little bit to accommodate that. Of course, the image needs to be sharpened for output as well. That's a step that I'd like to go ahead and add to my action. I'm going to do so right now, actually, inside of this Avignon street.jpg image. So with Convert to CMYK active here, I'll go ahead and click on the Record button. So you can continue to add to an action as much as you want inside any other image as well. So I'll click on the Record button. Sure enough, I see that it turns red.
I'll go up to the Filter menu, I'll choose Sharpen, and I figure we might as well go ahead and apply the Smart Sharpen command, because most of these images are high frequency images. That is they feature areas of rapid Luminance contrast. So I'll go ahead and choose Smart Sharpen, or you can press my keyboard shortcut, Shift+F6. Notice that I've switched my Settings to Print defaults, which are some settings that I saved way back when we were discussing sharpening in the Advanced portion of the series. Anyway, that means that the Amount value is set to 250%, at least where my Settings are concerned, and the Radius is 3.5 pixels, and Remove is set to Lens Blur.
I think those settings should work out pretty nicely. More Accurate should be turned off. Then go ahead and click on the OK button to apply those settings. All right, now I'm going to twirl open the Smart Sharpen operation, and oh my gosh. Look at all the stuff that got recorded, things that have nothing to do with the specific settings we applied. For example, the angle is set to 90 degrees. Well, that is meaningless when we have Remove set to Lens Blur. Then all the Advanced settings are saved as well, even though we didn't change any of those settings. Sometimes Photoshop will record every single, tiny, little setting associated with the dialog box, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Fortunately, here, it doesn't cause any problems. So I'll go ahead and click on the square Stop button in order to stop the recording. In the next exercise, I'll show you how to play back an action one step at a time, and then how to change the settings associated with a specific operation.
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